Mary's brother, Lazarus, had just died. King Jesus rolled into town 2 days too late. Mary and Martha knew that Jesus had the power to heal the sick, they had heard story after story if not experienced it first hand. They loved Him, they trusted Him. They both thought, "If only Jesus had been here..." Martha ran out to meet Jesus. She had a few choice words for Him. But Mary? She stayed inside when her Savior, her Creator came walking up to the house.
I'm totally reading into the story here. God never says anything about Mary's heart in staying inside, so I can only imagine. But here's how the story could have gone. Especially if it were me.
Mary was hurt. Hurt that Jesus didn't heal her brother. She felt betrayed by her dear friend. She was bitter. She was a little angry. She knew that He chose not to heal Lazarus. So she stayed inside. She was done asking Jesus for things. Because He hadn't given her what she really wanted, what she thought she really needed. So she stayed inside.
Then Jesus sends for her. And who of His sheep can resist it when He calls their name? Not one. She goes to Him. And she finds a Man that weeps with her. He shares the sorrow of the loss of her brother with her. Not just because He loved Lazarus, but because He loves her. Then she takes Him to her brother's tomb and Jesus does what He does best and redeems crappy, horrible situations for His glory and the good of those who love Him.
I read this story this morning. It moves me because I am Mary. (Or at least who I perceive Mary to be in the story.) A few weeks ago, we lost our 3rd baby. It was really early in the pregnancy, so the individual loss was easier to handle. But the overarching theme of lost babies crumbled me. After our 1st miscarriage I kept thinking and praying, "I don't want this to be our story. I don't want lost babies to be what God uses in my life."
After our latest miscarriage, I threw up my hands. I've had it. I'm done asking God for things. I don't doubt His power, His ability. But this. is. harsh. And I'm done.
In the last few weeks, God's given just enough faith for me to toss up small, feeble prayers.
"God, help my heart. I want to love you. I want to trust you. I want to know that you love me."
But I didn't know those things. I didn't believe those things. I saw Him not allowing us to meet those 3 babies as a harsh act done by a strict, mean Father.
But in Mary's story, Jesus shows me that that's not the Father's parenting style at all. Jesus waited 2 days to come to them. He knew Lazarus was going to die and he waited. He knew there would be pain, heartache, bitterness, anger, struggle. He knew it. But He ALSO knew the ending. He knew He would raise Lazarus from the dead. He knew that in delaying, in not doing exactly what Mary had wanted Him to do, He was going to get to show them more of Himself. He would get to weep with Mary, to give her very tangible evidence of His tender compassion and fierce love. He know that in doing so, He was granting them greater joy than in just having their brother back.
God knows our kids. He has known all of them since the dawn of creation. He knows their names, their personalities, the date they will born. Whether they are biologically mine or not. He isn't a strict Father reacting to my wicked heart. He is a kind, loving, patient, all-knowing Daddy who wants me to have the MOST joy as we grow our family by showing me that He is my treasure.
So He called me out of the house to show me that He was weeping with me. He shares my sorrow. But He knows that there is much more joy ahead. So I can trust Him as He leads our family to more joy, to deeper faith, to a clearer view of who He is.
I'm sure I will run back into the house a time or two. Or seventeen. But I can be certain that if I am His, He will always come get me.